79 – Monday Continued
Having left Flam and its very efficient wifi, we headed off on the E16 for Oslo. The weather forecast for the next 5 days is cloud and showers. We stopped off to look at Borgund Stavkirke. There were 1000s of wooden churches built in the countryside before the (Lutheran) reformation. Very few remain and this one has remained unaltered since the Middle Ages. Slightly ominous as we drew up … big carpark, big visitor centre and biggish price – NOK80 each …. approx. £14 for the two of us. We desisted; we are all for supporting preservation work, but not yet another museum and infrastructure … especially on our budget! Whilst we missed out on seeing the inside, but could see a fair bit from the outside.
Sally Sat Nav tried to take us off the E16, but as we were not expecting it, we ploughed on. Was it 15 or 20 miles of road works we encountered? Very slow and dirty. Just as well Chardonnay is well overdue a wash, however she has a new level of muck on her existing dirt.
As we have come further south, there have been fewer and fewer free parking (overnight) opportunities; again all part of the reaction against the sheer number of motorhomes and encouraging us to pay for campsites. However we found a lay by and joined a German van. We anticipated the noise from the E16 so close would keep us awake, however, there seemed to be very little traffic …. had everyone else known about the road works?
80 – Tuesday and Driving
Having slept in, we basically just drove all afternoon to the Ekenberg Campsite, over looking Oslo. I remembered staying here with Maddy and the Aged P’s about 8 years ago. Very busy … park up where you can so long as you are 3m apart and try and find a levelish bit – our wheel chocks have made an appearance! Two loads of washing and a BBQ – more fresh meat and enough for 3 meals … Aah lovely 🙂
As soon as we finished cooking it started to rain, so us and all the wet laundry (refused to pay for a dryer) into the ‘van. Quite inventive … smalls suspended from the rotary hanger, jeans from trouser hangers, T shirts on normal hangers, a towel from trouser hangers and the duvet from two trouser hangers … hanging off every shelf, hook and the roof lights. Starting to smell like a Chinese laundry. (J did a 2 mile run on arrival – the campsite was ideal for running as it is situated in a large multi facility park that stretches for miles – nice soft ground for running….).
81 – Wednesday: Osmosis in Oslo
We knew the weather forecast was for wet … but it teamed down all day until 5.00. Waterproofed head to toe we caught the bus to the central station. Climbed the roof of the new Opera House. The Opera House is really impressive: completed in 2008, white Italian marble on the exterior sloping down to the sea shore. Still raining heavily so we booked tickets for one of the summer concerts.
Took shelter in the cathedral, which surprised us as it only seats 900. The Crown Prince royal wedding must have been cramped and due the cross shaped seating only half the guests would have seen the ceremony. Whilst the foundation stone was laid in 1694, the ceiling is really low and was over painted in 1936-50 in a modern style. Slightly odd and incongruous looking.
We persisted in our tourist walking route, but having picnicked under the shelter of a car park canopy we aborted! Back to the Opera House for a coffee and beer and somewhere dry to sit. After the concert we went to the National Gallery. Really well done as it is not too large, all on one floor, and it take you through only one room of icons and more swiftly onto explaining the more modern influences on Norwegian artists, from Munich, Berlin and Paris . So we saw and did not understand the Scream; it was more interesting reading about the two Scream thefts and how one of the 4 Screams is the most expensive painting sold in private ownership. Liked some of the Thomas Fernley and Christian Krohg.
As the rain stopped (for a while) we were able to BBQ and move some of the washing around …
82 – Thursday: Fram and Trams
Running am……….. J did 4 miles up and downand i ran for 16 mins VERY slowly for a lot less!
With a wet am forecast we planned a late start, as it was, it was fairly dry although still chilly. We bussed to the Bygdoy Island (now joined to the mainland as they filled in the sound in C19. I remembered the Kon-Tiki museum from my Maddy and Aged P visit, so we went to the Fram museum. My interest had really been stirred in the Arctic Explorers at the small and old fashioned museum in Tromso. We spent all afternoon here. Two floors explaining about the background to the race to reach the Poles, the crews and the technical developments towards each. The Fram was used initially by Nansen who believed they could be locked in the winter ice and drift over the North Pole. He realised the drift would miss the Pole, so he and one other headed off with kayaks and sledges and made it further north than any one previously. They saved each other’s lives and over wintered in a hut. Sverdup then used the Fram for a scientific exploration or the Arctic. Amundsen intended using it to go to the North Pole, but as someone claimed to be there already, changed his mind and chased off against Scott for the South Pole. There was also information about Scott’s expedition: it really was ill prepared for the conditions compared to Amundsen’s. The other boat there is the Gjoa, in which Amundsen was the first person to make it through the North West Passage.
All (Arctic) Heros above.
Nansen is absolutely my new all time hero. After his exploring and contribution to science, he worked with refugees from all over and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nanson ID card is still in use as identity for stateless persons. Amundsen was first through the NW Passage, contributed to science, first to South Pole and first to visit both the N and S Poles. A couple of biographies straight onto my reading list.
We were so late out of the museum, we’d missed the last bus out so had to use the tourist ferry, but it took us straight to the Town hall Area. We then used our public transport pass to tram and bus around the city a bit. We had planned to walk past the Bislett Stadium, but mistook trams for busses so gave it up as it was getting late. But saw the Town Hall and the Nobel Peace Prize building; Peace being selected by Norway, all the other prizes by Sweden.